RCIA Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
RCIA, the process of becoming a Catholic, is based on the premise that adults grow in faith through stages:
This is a time to investigate your questions. We do not expect a definite commitment to join the Catholic Church during this stage of the process. Our goal is to give you the basic information you need to decide if the Catholic Church is really right for you. If you do not choose to continue the process after the Inquiry Stage, at least you will have a better understanding of the Catholic Church, and hopefully many misconceptions will be clarified. If you do choose to continue in the process, we hope that this stage will lay a solid informational foundation for your ongoing initiation.
During this stage, you will be dismissed from the 9:30 AM Mass after the homily for further Scripture Study. Your sponsor will join you following Mass for class until Noon.
The root word of catechumenate is “conversion”. Our goal during this stage of the process is to enable you, a committed candidate for initiation, to use the tools of the Catholic faith tradition to deepen your own faith conversion. The Sunday Scripture readings from Mass become our primary textbook. Our sessions explore how these readings might apply to your life and to the life of the Church.
This stage begins on Ash Wednesday. Class times remain the same.
This is the final stage of preparation before your initiation. The sessions will have a retreat-like feel and include several unique and prayerful experiences.
During this extraordinary service we will celebrate Baptism (or Profession of Faith if you have been baptized in another faith tradition), Confirmation, and First Communion with you. Your initiation into full communion with us is the high point of the church year.
Mystagogia translates, “living into the mystery.” The sessions during this stage of the process offer you continued support, as you live into the mystery of being a Catholic.
Frequently Asked Questions About the RCIA Process
|What does the acronym RCIA stand for?
The acronym RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This process gets its name from the rites, which are celebrated as candidates transition through the different stages of initiation.
|Why does it take so long to become a Catholic?
This process involves more than sharing information with you. We also want to enable you to use the tools of the Catholic faith tradition for ongoing growth after you are initiated: Scripture, sacraments, prayer forms, etc. We want to help you discern your unique gifts and to connect you with avenues to use those gifts for the good of the parish and the broader community. We want to make you feel at home, not only at St. Thomas More, but also in the cultural world of the universal Catholic Church. These things happen more gradually over a longer period of time.
|Can my friend, fiancée, or spouse come to classes with me?
We always leave that up to the candidate. Sometimes the candidate wants to make this journey individually. Yet, often it can be a wonderful opportunity for a couple to grow in faith together. We are open to whichever option works best for you
|Is it true that I need a sponsor?
The sponsor joins you at the beginning of the Catechumenate Stage of the process. The role of the sponsor is to be a companion for you on your spiritual journey with us, and to be a tangible connection for you to our faith community. You may have a close friend, who is already serving in that role for you, and who may be honored to serve as your sponsor. We can also help you find a parish volunteer to serve in this role. We prefer to have someone besides your significant other in this role, so that you have another connection to the parish. However, we often use significant others as sponsors for other candidates. It can create a wonderful bond between the two couples.
|If I have already been baptized in another faith tradition, do I need to be baptized again in the Catholic Church?
If you have been baptized in another Christian tradition, we will not re-baptize you. When you are initiated during the Easter Vigil, we will ask you to make a Profession of Faith to the Catholic Church; you will be confirmed in our faith; and you will join in full communion with us.
|Who teaches the classes?
A highly qualified team with a wide variety of teaching styles and backgrounds will enrich your learning experience.
|At what point do I actually have to decide, if I want to become a Catholic?
While your ultimate decision will be made at the Easter Vigil, we ask you to decide before we begin the Lenten season.
Father Kendall Ketterlin is the contact person at Saint Thomas More.